On Saturday 6th March 2021, the eleventh Open Data Day took place with people around the world organising hundreds of events to celebrate, promote and spread the use of open data. Thanks to generous support from key funders, the Open Knowledge Foundation was able to support the running of more than 60 of these events via our mini-grants scheme.
For Open Data Day 2021, we organised two public events around data-driven investigation for increasing transparency and detecting potential frauds in society.
For the first event, we focused on the role of investigative journalists and civil society in that matter (e.g. we introduced the Opener application, developed by Estonian and Latvian NGOs in cooperation with governmental stakeholders).
Later in the second event, we engaged different governmental stakeholders and local administrations as well as civil society to learn about the possibilities for re-using publically available payment data of the public sector. The event’s goal was to encourage the re-use of payment data for the early detection of potential conflicts of interest and raise the participants’ data visualisations skills.
First event: https://www.facebook.com/events/472106700473912
Second event: https://okee.ee/andmeklubi/rahakasutuse-visualiseerimise-tootuba/
Opener application: https://opener.ee
Payment data from the public sector: https://saldo.rtk.ee/saldo-app/
The main lessons of the events were that data journalism is still in its infancy in Estonia. More effort needs to be invested in the capacity building of journalists in that matter. There are also many challenges for more accessible investigations, sometimes due to the intentional use of legislation for restricting access to certain information and data (even if the legitimate reasons for it are debatable). Furthermore, there is relatively low awareness about where particular information and data could be found, and how accessible these are.
With that in mind, our event hopefully contributed to raising awareness on the subject, and we’ll keep working on it in the future. In the second event, we learned that, although publically available payment data is not yet available in a machine-readable format, the relevant stakeholders are putting significant effort into making that available later this spring. People who are issuing payment data to the government are eager to see what applications will be built based on it, while they still seem sceptical about its impact. Concrete use cases need to be built, which would in turn, show them the impact of open data more clearly.
As for most of the society, data “just happens” without consciously thinking about it, it’s great to take a collective moment to appreciate all the efforts put into making our societies more data-driven, transparent and open. All the events and smaller celebratory activities made during the Open Data Day shows the collective wish to work towards these values.
We did not make any pictures from the event, but the two presentation from the first event are accessible here (in Estonian):
🕵️♀️ Martin Laine: https://youtu.be/FjLT-OhrzwY
👩💻Carina Paju: https://youtu.be/cHSEcHnfs0k